22nd January 2011

Sifting Through The Squabbles

“…command certain persons not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
1 Timothy 1:3-5 (TNIV)

When was the last time you argued with a fellow Christian?

I remember when I first arrived at university and attended the Christian Union. The first few months of conversations with other Christians always revolved around the hot topics and the controversial speculations that went hand in hand with them. Predestination, women in ministry, the role of spiritual gifts in church life. and so on. All of them uncertain areas in the Bible that people either have strong views on, or else they’re confused, swaying from one interpretation to another as they hear the list of convincing arguments from either side of the fence.

I loved it. Nothing gets me stirred like a good debate, especially those that invite rampant speculation. Sadly though, through my obsession with these arguments I often missed the point of the gospel.

Paul points out to Timothy that this tendency was present in the time of the early church. In the passage above he mentions ‘myths and endless genealogies’ as leading to ‘controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work.’

What are the things in your life that promote controversial speculations? What are the myths and genealogies of our day?

These are things that distract us from the goal of God’s command, the gospel, which is love. If our aim is love, then we must not let ourselves be distracted from that goal. Not by a hot topic, not by endless debates over evolution or homosexuality, nor by any other controversial speculation.

Instead we are commanded to share the gospel. And the goal of that command is love; to show it, to live and to act by it. In so doing we will live out lives with a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Thank you Lord, for giving us the Gospel of Peace, that by it we may help show your love to the world. Help us not to be distracted by worldly arguments, speculation and hearsay, but instead to live in accordance with your all abounding love.

Study by Fraser Henderson

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